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Business support inadequate, Scots tell ministers

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Less than a third of those surveyed were happy with the level of business support

Scottish Government policies are not ensuring a competitive business environment, nor delivering public services that match the highest personal taxes in the UK, according to a survey.

The research by Survation for communications firm True North, showed that 51% were unimpressed by Scottish government attempts to build a competitive location for business.

Less than a third (29.5%) were happy with the level of support for businesses, while the remaining 19.5% said they did not know.

Only 28% of respondents believed they were getting value for money from the level of taxes they pay towards public services. More than half – 54% – thought tax rates did not provide a satisfactory level.

The responses follow the shambolic chaos over the deposit return scheme, the proposed alcohol promotion ban and a range of concerns from the hospitality sector which believes more help was required following the impact of Covid. It is now engaged in a battle over tourist taxes and short term letting legislation. First Minister Humza Yousaf has ruled out delaying the deadline for landlords to apply for licences for short-term lets.

There are also ongoing frustrations over housing policy and business rates, and Mr Yousaf is preparing to add another tier to the five existing income tax bands.

Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives’ finance spokesperson, said the data showed the SNP and Greens had created a “hostile climate for business”, despite the setting up of a new advisory group.

Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter last week called for Holyrood and Westminister to cut taxes and to follow the example of Ireland by introducing a 15% corporation tax rate. It is currently 25% for large companies and 19% for small ones.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, will today unveil a plan to cut taxes, introduce new approaches to education and training, and increase exports.

“Raising taxes is a short-term play, it chokes off future growth and revenue,” Mr Ross will say. “With a growing economy, we can better fund our essential public services and deliver real improvements.

“With a growing economy, we can keep household bills low by reducing tax. And with a growing economy, we can create good, well-paid jobs and better opportunities for the next generation.”

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